August 11, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Comic Review: The Banks

Multigenerational thieves take on a job that is both personal and profitable.

A while back, I ordered three trades from TKO Studios.  The first of those I read and reviewed was kinda disappointing.  But that was also the only one by creators I had never heard of.  For The Banks, I have heard of writer Roxane Gay.  Granted, I haven’t read any of her work before, but I have heard of the author.  Maybe I would like this one a bit more.

I mean, this one is about three generations of female thieves.  That could make for a good story.

Back in the early 70s, Melvin and Clara Banks are deeply in love.  They’re also basically professional thieves, breaking in the homes of well-off people, taking what they need or want, and then disappearing.  Theft is the only real crime they commit.  They don’t perform acts of violence or have anything to do with narcotics.  They just steal things to live a very comfortable life.  Sometimes Melvin gets caught, but he won’t rat on anyone, and Clara starts doing jobs with her infant (soon older) daughter Cora in tow.  Cora herself marries a very understanding woman (and a doctor at that), but her own daughter Celia balks at such things, instead using the money her mother and grandmother stole to get herself into college and become an investment banker, getting her own (eventually just as understanding) boyfriend Cory.  However, Celia gets wind of a very big account for a reclusive billionaire who keeps his holdings in both gold and bitcoin.  As such, she is willing to see her estranged grandmother and go-between mom to see about getting their hands on more money than any of the Banks have ever had the opportunity to get for themselves.

From there, the story is basically whether or not Clara and Celia can get along long enough to get the loot, a goal that takes on a new significance when Clara realizes a man who has a connection to Melvin’s murder is behind the rich man’s fortune.

So, is this better than the last TKO book?  Well, I can tell what’s going on, so yes.  But somehow, this one doesn’t quite work.  Gay’s script is somewhat stilted and repetitive.  Celia and Clara snipe at each other, often with one or the other pointing out that Celia learned something useful at her expensive college.  Both Cora and Cory make a joke (I think it’s a joke) that investment bankers are the biggest thieves in the world, and what issues the women have are settled more or less when they need to be to keep the plot moving.  The Bankses are all African American, though Cory isn’t, but I wouldn’t say race plays much of an angle here in the grand scheme of things.  The women of the Banks family insist they are good people while also being thieves.  There’s probably some commentary to that, but the narrative suggests this is basically true.  There are truly evil people in the world of The Banks, but the Banks family and their loved ones aren’t among them.

It likewise doesn’t help that artist Ming Doyle’s artwork looks stiff.  It does unintentionally copy the writing of the book, but it did bother me a bit.

Is this a bad comic?  No.  It’s perfectly adequate, but it could have been much, much better.

7 out of 10 scarred mobsters.

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